Parents' emotional tribute to footballer who died after punch

Darran and Shaun Saunders pay tribute to son Connor

Parents emotional tribute to footballer who died after punch

First published in News by

The family of a teenage footballer who died in the street described him as “too good for this earth”.

Connor Saunders, 19, was punched after an argument between two groups outside Tesco Express in Rottingdean on Saturday night.

Speaking at the family home in Downsway, Woodingdean yesterday, Connor’s mum Darran and father Shaun paid a heartbreaking tribute to their son.

The tearful couple, who spoke with items of their son’s clothes draped around them, said their “whole life has stopped” but added they were setting up a fund in Connor’s name to provide life-saving medical equipment to semi-professional football clubs in Sussex.

Mrs Saunders said: “We have always been blessed to have him in our lives but he was too good for this earth.

“We just don’t understand why this would happen to someone like him. There are some real bad people in this world but he was not one of them.

“The only thing he never had on this Earth was his angel wings."

Mr Saunders, who worked with Connor in the family plastering and timber firm, said: "I do not know how we are ever going to get through this.

“Our whole life has stopped.

“We can’t eat, we can’t sleep. Work is completely out of the question as I just can’t face opening the van and seeing his tools.

“I spent all day, every day with him. He was my son, my colleague, my friend, my hero.”

To read the full heartbreaking story see today's Argus.

Comments (23)

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8:36am Thu 19 Apr 12

albion seagull says...

RIP Connor !!!! I never met Connor but he must of been a top bloke. Just a thought this country's judiciary system needs over hauling. This is MURDER !!! He's now back out on bail to return to court he should be locked away and throw away the keys. It's sickening
RIP Connor !!!! I never met Connor but he must of been a top bloke. Just a thought this country's judiciary system needs over hauling. This is MURDER !!! He's now back out on bail to return to court he should be locked away and throw away the keys. It's sickening albion seagull
  • Score: 0

9:05am Thu 19 Apr 12

jackie1959 says...

Totally agree with albion seagull.What more can be said!!!R.I.P Conner.x
Totally agree with albion seagull.What more can be said!!!R.I.P Conner.x jackie1959
  • Score: 0

9:12am Thu 19 Apr 12

jimbobmaginty says...

Shame that such a young lad has to die because of some scumbags that should not have been conceived!

RIP!!

I feel sorry for the family because the scumbags that did this will not get long prison terms and will be able to enjoy a full life! Fingers crossed for vigilantes!
Shame that such a young lad has to die because of some scumbags that should not have been conceived! RIP!! I feel sorry for the family because the scumbags that did this will not get long prison terms and will be able to enjoy a full life! Fingers crossed for vigilantes! jimbobmaginty
  • Score: 0

9:24am Thu 19 Apr 12

Honey68 says...

talk of vigilantes and revenge is not going to bring Connor back! if you knew his family you would know they wouldn't want anyone else to go through the pain they are going through! Connor, his family and friends did not deserve this pain and suffering, but where would the revenge attacks stop? RIP Connor XXX
talk of vigilantes and revenge is not going to bring Connor back! if you knew his family you would know they wouldn't want anyone else to go through the pain they are going through! Connor, his family and friends did not deserve this pain and suffering, but where would the revenge attacks stop? RIP Connor XXX Honey68
  • Score: 0

9:34am Thu 19 Apr 12

Morpheus says...

It looks like another trial by the media. None of the people making comments know the circumstances about this tragic case. Society only has itself to blame if it produces the scumbags some people are talking about.
It looks like another trial by the media. None of the people making comments know the circumstances about this tragic case. Society only has itself to blame if it produces the scumbags some people are talking about. Morpheus
  • Score: 0

9:49am Thu 19 Apr 12

Bushell says...

I just dont understand the legal system - how can this ' Scumbag ' be allowed out on bail ! He should be locked up for years for this. R.I.P Connor.
I just dont understand the legal system - how can this ' Scumbag ' be allowed out on bail ! He should be locked up for years for this. R.I.P Connor. Bushell
  • Score: 0

9:58am Thu 19 Apr 12

albion seagull says...

Morpheus I know the back ground. This child was failed but you can't attack people. If you only throw one punch or ten punches u still intend to do damage and no Vigilantes are not the answer !!!!
Morpheus I know the back ground. This child was failed but you can't attack people. If you only throw one punch or ten punches u still intend to do damage and no Vigilantes are not the answer !!!! albion seagull
  • Score: 0

10:00am Thu 19 Apr 12

minnie&teddy says...

can't get this out of our heads such a tradgedy our thoughts are with the family these scumbags should be locked up and NEVER come out again R.I.P Connor x
can't get this out of our heads such a tradgedy our thoughts are with the family these scumbags should be locked up and NEVER come out again R.I.P Connor x minnie&teddy
  • Score: 0

11:07am Thu 19 Apr 12

Bushell says...

I totally agree that Vigilantes are not the answer but why can this Scumbag not be named ' for legal reasons ' - he should be named and shamed and locked up for a very long time. This is happening far too often in today's society, something needs to be done to stop these awful tragedies.
I totally agree that Vigilantes are not the answer but why can this Scumbag not be named ' for legal reasons ' - he should be named and shamed and locked up for a very long time. This is happening far too often in today's society, something needs to be done to stop these awful tragedies. Bushell
  • Score: 0

11:14am Thu 19 Apr 12

Tiggs2203t says...

It is very sad that Connor died. But I think people should stop convicting the 14 yr old lad. I think people should wait for the verdit of the courts before making any judgement on this case. Who are we to judge anyone. None of us are prefect and we make mistakes and some times these mistakes have awful results. But without everyone knowing both sides of this story it is wrong for anyone to comment on the 14 yr old. And as for threading him, that just shows your true colours.

It's not just one family that has been ripped apart by this situation.
It is very sad that Connor died. But I think people should stop convicting the 14 yr old lad. I think people should wait for the verdit of the courts before making any judgement on this case. Who are we to judge anyone. None of us are prefect and we make mistakes and some times these mistakes have awful results. But without everyone knowing both sides of this story it is wrong for anyone to comment on the 14 yr old. And as for threading him, that just shows your true colours. It's not just one family that has been ripped apart by this situation. Tiggs2203t
  • Score: 0

11:21am Thu 19 Apr 12

HOVEPARKRESIDENT says...

The kids of today need to learn that only one punch can lead to catastrophic injuries or worse. This isn't the first time something like this has happened and sadly it won't be the last. Educating a child about the devastating results just one punch could cause would be a start and then judiciary system handing out much tougher sentences for this kind of offence would help.
RIP young man, from what I have heard locally you were a thoroughly decent lad.
The kids of today need to learn that only one punch can lead to catastrophic injuries or worse. This isn't the first time something like this has happened and sadly it won't be the last. Educating a child about the devastating results just one punch could cause would be a start and then judiciary system handing out much tougher sentences for this kind of offence would help. RIP young man, from what I have heard locally you were a thoroughly decent lad. HOVEPARKRESIDENT
  • Score: 0

11:32am Thu 19 Apr 12

Paolo123321 says...

I know all parties involved in this tragic incident, and to plead not guilty is just exactly what I would expect from the 14yr old responsible. The government is to blame for this lawless society who go around attacking people and getting away scott free!!!
I know all parties involved in this tragic incident, and to plead not guilty is just exactly what I would expect from the 14yr old responsible. The government is to blame for this lawless society who go around attacking people and getting away scott free!!! Paolo123321
  • Score: 0

11:51am Thu 19 Apr 12

pitb says...

It is of course so very sad that Connor has died in such awful circumstances, but as I understand it he may have given an extended life to others through his organ donations. This is the Connor who should be remembered; as the obviously loving and caring individual. If any further good can come from this dreadful incident, then an educational programme addressed to young people of the dangers of just 'one punch' should be brought about. Come on Frankie, you have a potential national audience use it positively now to endorse and advertise the so obvious dangers. I am sure there is support nationally and internationally available; and perhaps this, along with the local defibrilators, can be the lasting tribute to such a wonderful young man along with his caring family and friends.
It is of course so very sad that Connor has died in such awful circumstances, but as I understand it he may have given an extended life to others through his organ donations. This is the Connor who should be remembered; as the obviously loving and caring individual. If any further good can come from this dreadful incident, then an educational programme addressed to young people of the dangers of just 'one punch' should be brought about. Come on Frankie, you have a potential national audience use it positively now to endorse and advertise the so obvious dangers. I am sure there is support nationally and internationally available; and perhaps this, along with the local defibrilators, can be the lasting tribute to such a wonderful young man along with his caring family and friends. pitb
  • Score: 0

11:51am Thu 19 Apr 12

tooned_in says...

We are all accountable for our actions regardless of age, boys fight all the time this ended tragically and regardless of age or remorse the convicted parties have taken a life and therefore must pay the price via a custodial sentance. the accused should definately not be allowed to return home to his xbox and sky tv he should be on remand in a child custodial facility...I feel for Connors family as no sentance will ease their pain but hopefully time will heal their hurt!
We are all accountable for our actions regardless of age, boys fight all the time this ended tragically and regardless of age or remorse the convicted parties have taken a life and therefore must pay the price via a custodial sentance. the accused should definately not be allowed to return home to his xbox and sky tv he should be on remand in a child custodial facility...I feel for Connors family as no sentance will ease their pain but hopefully time will heal their hurt! tooned_in
  • Score: 0

12:13pm Thu 19 Apr 12

Paolo123321 says...

pitb wrote:
It is of course so very sad that Connor has died in such awful circumstances, but as I understand it he may have given an extended life to others through his organ donations. This is the Connor who should be remembered; as the obviously loving and caring individual. If any further good can come from this dreadful incident, then an educational programme addressed to young people of the dangers of just 'one punch' should be brought about. Come on Frankie, you have a potential national audience use it positively now to endorse and advertise the so obvious dangers. I am sure there is support nationally and internationally available; and perhaps this, along with the local defibrilators, can be the lasting tribute to such a wonderful young man along with his caring family and friends.
Agree 100%! Just goes to show the type of person he was to sign a donation certificate at 16. Frankie use the might of the media to raise awareness of the concequences of this tragedy. Do it for Connor
[quote][p][bold]pitb[/bold] wrote: It is of course so very sad that Connor has died in such awful circumstances, but as I understand it he may have given an extended life to others through his organ donations. This is the Connor who should be remembered; as the obviously loving and caring individual. If any further good can come from this dreadful incident, then an educational programme addressed to young people of the dangers of just 'one punch' should be brought about. Come on Frankie, you have a potential national audience use it positively now to endorse and advertise the so obvious dangers. I am sure there is support nationally and internationally available; and perhaps this, along with the local defibrilators, can be the lasting tribute to such a wonderful young man along with his caring family and friends.[/p][/quote]Agree 100%! Just goes to show the type of person he was to sign a donation certificate at 16. Frankie use the might of the media to raise awareness of the concequences of this tragedy. Do it for Connor Paolo123321
  • Score: 0

1:47pm Thu 19 Apr 12

Will600000 says...

Wow, there are some really hateful comments on here.
I don't know the facts of what happened, i was not there ! i don't know anyone who was either.
what i know is what i have read in the media, as a sane, level headed person, i DO NOT have the information to pass ANY kind of judgement on what has happened.
It has been exhaustively reported that there were no weapons involved, so no stabbing, no sticks, bricks or metal bars mentioned.
So from that alone i can only deduce that this was a tragic sequence of events that has led to the shocking death of a young man who is reported to have been nice, normal, community liked and family loved.
Maybe there is more information via social media sites ? i don't know, i don't use them, i can only draw conclusions on what has been REPORTED by trusted media.
This must not get out of hand, a life has been lost, yes but people need to wait for the courts now to determine what happened, why and who was to blame, not that any of that will change what has happened.
Wow, there are some really hateful comments on here. I don't know the facts of what happened, i was not there ! i don't know anyone who was either. what i know is what i have read in the media, as a sane, level headed person, i DO NOT have the information to pass ANY kind of judgement on what has happened. It has been exhaustively reported that there were no weapons involved, so no stabbing, no sticks, bricks or metal bars mentioned. So from that alone i can only deduce that this was a tragic sequence of events that has led to the shocking death of a young man who is reported to have been nice, normal, community liked and family loved. Maybe there is more information via social media sites ? i don't know, i don't use them, i can only draw conclusions on what has been REPORTED by trusted media. This must not get out of hand, a life has been lost, yes but people need to wait for the courts now to determine what happened, why and who was to blame, not that any of that will change what has happened. Will600000
  • Score: 0

3:47pm Thu 19 Apr 12

a local resident_1 says...

Paolo123321 wrote:
I know all parties involved in this tragic incident, and to plead not guilty is just exactly what I would expect from the 14yr old responsible. The government is to blame for this lawless society who go around attacking people and getting away scott free!!!
did he plead not guilty? he has nt been to court for his plea to be heard as yet, im wondering where you got this information from, or whether you are just guessing . he was in court yesterday for his bail hearing only and he has not returned home to play computer games as someone mentioned.i think that what happened is so so sad connor was a lovely well liked lad i can not bear to imagine what his parents are experiencing right now .people may think i favour the boy arrested, but thats not the case i did not no him but new connor i really do think that the persecution should stop no body that cared for connor wants to read these arguments , why dont we all just let the court decide his punishment , and pray for his family at this awfull time.
[quote][p][bold]Paolo123321[/bold] wrote: I know all parties involved in this tragic incident, and to plead not guilty is just exactly what I would expect from the 14yr old responsible. The government is to blame for this lawless society who go around attacking people and getting away scott free!!![/p][/quote]did he plead not guilty? he has nt been to court for his plea to be heard as yet, im wondering where you got this information from, or whether you are just guessing . he was in court yesterday for his bail hearing only and he has not returned home to play computer games as someone mentioned.i think that what happened is so so sad connor was a lovely well liked lad i can not bear to imagine what his parents are experiencing right now .people may think i favour the boy arrested, but thats not the case i did not no him but new connor i really do think that the persecution should stop no body that cared for connor wants to read these arguments , why dont we all just let the court decide his punishment , and pray for his family at this awfull time. a local resident_1
  • Score: 0

12:53am Fri 20 Apr 12

leobrighton says...

Online comments are inappropriate for this subject apart from to express sympathy and respects to the families and friends involved. Such grief is unimaginable to many of us and we should only wish the best for those involved.
Online comments are inappropriate for this subject apart from to express sympathy and respects to the families and friends involved. Such grief is unimaginable to many of us and we should only wish the best for those involved. leobrighton
  • Score: 0

9:47am Fri 20 Apr 12

Euly says...

leobrighton wrote:
Online comments are inappropriate for this subject apart from to express sympathy and respects to the families and friends involved. Such grief is unimaginable to many of us and we should only wish the best for those involved.
well said leobrighton. RIP Connor
[quote][p][bold]leobrighton[/bold] wrote: Online comments are inappropriate for this subject apart from to express sympathy and respects to the families and friends involved. Such grief is unimaginable to many of us and we should only wish the best for those involved.[/p][/quote]well said leobrighton. RIP Connor Euly
  • Score: 0

8:26am Sat 21 Apr 12

triestesue says...

RIP Connor. My heart goes out to the family. So sorry. xx
RIP Connor. My heart goes out to the family. So sorry. xx triestesue
  • Score: 0

9:02am Sat 21 Apr 12

Juleyanne says...

My thoughts and prayers are with the family and friends of Connor.
My thoughts and prayers are with the family and friends of Connor. Juleyanne
  • Score: 0

5:15pm Sat 21 Apr 12

mommy25 says...

My heart goes out to connor's family.i think its disgusting that the boys that did this to him are back to school at longhill,these thugs are allowed to mix with children who's to say they wont do it at school and kill another innocent person? They are all out probably bragging about it what they did,its wrong.Take there life away just like they have taken connor's and not let them come home to there ps3/xbox computers and so on. what parent would want there children going to school mixing with thugs like this??????? RIP connor X
My heart goes out to connor's family.i think its disgusting that the boys that did this to him are back to school at longhill,these thugs are allowed to mix with children who's to say they wont do it at school and kill another innocent person? They are all out probably bragging about it what they did,its wrong.Take there life away just like they have taken connor's and not let them come home to there ps3/xbox computers and so on. what parent would want there children going to school mixing with thugs like this??????? RIP connor X mommy25
  • Score: 0

6:05pm Sat 21 Apr 12

Kelly2012 says...

When I heard about this tragedy, many questions filtered through your mind. I have 3 teenagers 14,15 and 19 myself. Firstly the Argus states 'an arguement broke out between the two groups' what was a 19 year old doing arguing with a group of 13/14 year old children? My 19 year old is a 'man' he wouldn't entertain a group of children this age? I have great sympathy for the family of Connor but also for the family of the 14 year old that 'punched' him. Was he defending himself? In my opinion so many things are wrong here, the vast age difference, the 'arguement' the fact that this young man lost his life from one punch, which in a 14 year olds mind would not have been adequate to kill Connor. How anyone can call a 14 year old child scum is beyond me. We dont have all the facts nor do we know how the 14 year old is feeling right now. Sometimes we like to think we 'know' our kids/young adults but that is not always the case. In my opinion nobody is to blame for this. Life deals some bad cards and this is a perfect example of a teenage brawl that went horribly wrong. This 14 year old is not a cold blooded murderer he is a child who 'punched' a 19 year old for reasons we dont know and Connor died as a result. This is a tragedy and nothing more.
When I heard about this tragedy, many questions filtered through your mind. I have 3 teenagers 14,15 and 19 myself. Firstly the Argus states 'an arguement broke out between the two groups' what was a 19 year old doing arguing with a group of 13/14 year old children? My 19 year old is a 'man' he wouldn't entertain a group of children this age? I have great sympathy for the family of Connor but also for the family of the 14 year old that 'punched' him. Was he defending himself? In my opinion so many things are wrong here, the vast age difference, the 'arguement' the fact that this young man lost his life from one punch, which in a 14 year olds mind would not have been adequate to kill Connor. How anyone can call a 14 year old child scum is beyond me. We dont have all the facts nor do we know how the 14 year old is feeling right now. Sometimes we like to think we 'know' our kids/young adults but that is not always the case. In my opinion nobody is to blame for this. Life deals some bad cards and this is a perfect example of a teenage brawl that went horribly wrong. This 14 year old is not a cold blooded murderer he is a child who 'punched' a 19 year old for reasons we dont know and Connor died as a result. This is a tragedy and nothing more. Kelly2012
  • Score: 0

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